Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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1795 womans

On Sept. 20, Fort Walton Lodge presented the S3 Project of the Fort Walton Beach Woman’s Club the $3,500 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. The Fort Walton Beach Woman’s Club was founded in 1921 and offers community service programs. This grant is specifically for the S3 project with the objective to improve student performance, attendance, personal pride/self-worth and school participation. The grant will be used to purchase the necessary school supplies and personal items as needed for any student in need, including any student experiencing homelessness. Whenever a school identifies a student in need for food, personal health supplies, school supplies, or funding to participate in a school function such as band, it will be funded. As part of its community, the lodge’s goal is to be part of the solution to assist students in achieving academic success and personal growth. Pictured at the check presentation are Taz WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Kevin Clemons, PDD, District Leader; Cissy Wyninegar, lodge member; Dr. Vivian Green, Woman’s Club member; Kathy Pacheco, lodge trustee; Tom Knowles, PER; and Paul Eubanks, PER.


1795 fresh

On Sept. 20, Fort Walton Lodge presented its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant to Fresh Start for Children and Families. Fresh Start’s primary focus is helping families achieve long-term self-sufficiency through a nine-month residential and educational program. This grant will help refurbish some existing transitional housing units. A prior tenant with many children was evicted for not keeping their end of the housing agreement. Upon leaving, the tenant destroyed appliances and parts of the building. This grant will help provide replacements for this housing unit and much needed support for the mission of Fresh Start for Children and Families. Pictured at the check presentation are Taz WrightReynolds, PER, Exalted Ruler; Wilma Clayton, life skills manager; Sharron Stephens, property manager; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Paul Eubanks, PER; and Donna Tashik, executive director.


497 golf Course Picture

   497 golf Darrell  497 golf

Pensacola Beach Lodge held a golf tournament Sept. 10 at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Navarre, Florida. A total of 140 golfers participated, including members, nonmembers, friends of members and sponsors, and raised more than $29,000 for the lodge’s charity account. Charities that will benefit from the tournament include Boy Scouts of America, Santa Rosa Kid’s House, Gulf Coast Kid’s House, The Miracle League, Favor House, Bill Bond Baseball, AHERO, Weekend Food Program, Children in Crisis, Salvation Army, Bethany Christian Services, Children’s Home Society, ARC Gateway, USO of Northwest Florida, Council on Aging, Pensacola Beach Elementary School, Army of Hope, Family Fishing Rodeo and Kids Fishing Rodeo. More than 40 volunteers assisted to make the tournament a success. Special events included a hospitality tent, raffle, silent auction, hole-in-one prizes, putting contest and several specialty holes. Awards were given for the top three teams, longest drive and closest to the pin. “I would like to personally thank everyone who came out on this beautiful day to help us raise money for our designated charities. We could not have had such a huge success without the community’s involvement, the golfers and all our volunteers,” remarked Darrell Gossett, tournament chair.

The group picture was taken before the tournament. Also pictured are Gossett as well as member Gary Booker with Dan Smith, Exalted Ruler.


497 SR

On Sept. 1, Pensacola Beach Elks Lodge #497 donated $2,000 from its charity account to the Santa Rosa Kid's House, which assists survivors of child abuse in Santa Rosa County, Florida. Pictured are Cap Pratt, PDD, lodge trustee, and Kelli Sanders, Santa Rosa Kid's House program director.


2624 feed fosters 

On Aug. 26, Crestview Lodge made a monetary donation as well as a donation of books and supplies to Feed Fosters, an organization that helps feed foster families in northwest Florida. Along with donating the lodge’s $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, the lodge gifted 17 copies of “What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing,” by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry, MD, PhD. Additionally, they donated 500 bags to assist with food delivery and storage which included thick plastic shopping bags with handles and a cardboard bottom, merchandise bags, food service bags, takeout bags and gift bags. Savannah Cox, assistant director of Feed Fosters, accepts the check from Bud Tipton, Exalted Ruler. According to https://www.feedfosters.org/, Feed Fosters began providing meals to foster families April 12, 2020. “We saw it as an opportunity to support local restaurants during the Coronavirus pandemic by purchasing all the event meals directly from them.”


2624 joey background

Crestview raised $500 for the Brotherhood Ride for their 22-day bicycle trip from Naples, Florida, to ground zero in New York, honoring Florida’s fallen first responders and all first responders who died from 9/11-related illnesses. The check was mailed to them Aug. 6. Donations were given by lodge veterans for first gentleman Joey Simonelli’s pin, and the lodge donated the rest. Simonelli “wanted to do a patriotic pin, as his father is a retired law enforcement officer, and to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Plus, Joey loves the to support the Brotherhood Ride. As we travel, he passes out his pins and they are attached to a card with a QR code on it, so if people want to support the Brotherhood Ride, they can,” said State President, Suzi Simonelli.


1795 dock

Fort Walton Elks Lodge #1795 celebrated its dock restoration and reopening after its damage from 2020’s Hurricane Sally with a community ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 13. The lodge welcomed the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and the Elks family. This event kicked off a very successful weekend which opened the lodge doors to the community to show them what Elks are all about. Throughout the weekend there was entertainment, food and fun for all. Current members, new members, transfer members and future members were in attendance all three days. Lodge Exalted Ruler, Taz WrightReynolds, PER, commented, “I am so excited about our leadership team coming together with the community and making this event a huge success. The festivities lasted until weekend end with the famous Dusty’s shrimp country low boil. The dock is up and ready for Elks to visit by boat. The lodge is located on the wonderful and beautiful Okaloosa Island right on Choctawhatchee Bay.” Pictured at the opening are the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and lodge officers and members.


2624 el  2624 1

On March 27, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 had the drug trailer at the annual Crestview Triple B BBQ Festival. They partnered with the Crestview Area Youth Association (CAYA), a local youth football and cheer organization for children ages 5-12, and Crestview’s wrestling club. All three organizations had a booth and Elroy the Elk visited with many children and took photos. The three groups also shared a dunk booth. It was $5 for three throws and the dunk tank was a CAYA and wrestling fundraiser. Anyone who threw at the dunk tank receive a drug awareness sticker and ribbon from the Elks. They gave out 200 stickers and ribbons. They also passed out lodge information and secured two membership applications.


497 Salv Army

On March 12, Pensacola Beach Lodge presented a $2,500 donation to the Salvation Army from the lodge charity account for the Salvation Army Food Bank. Pictured are Cap Pratt, PDD, lodge trustee, and Mattie Broxton, Social Services Coordinator of the Salvation Army in Milton, Florida.


497 Children in Crisis

Pensacola Beach Lodge made a $3,000 donation from its charity account to Children in Crisis Inc. Feb. 15. Children in Crisis is a nonprofit organization of caring people working together to provide homes and keeping brothers and sisters together. Through their program, The Children’s Neighborhood, they provide homes in a residential, home-style environment to community children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned. Their campus, located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is now built up of an emergency shelter, five-family foster homes, and Opportunity Home with eight studio apartments for young adults who age out of foster care. Pictured at the Children in Crisis campus are Dan Smith, Exalted Ruler; Ken Hair, President of Children in Crisis; and Darrell Gossett, Lecturing Knight.


497 Bethany

On Feb. 18, Pensacola Beach Lodge donated $3,000 from its charity funds to Bethany Christian Services of the Gulf Coast. This nonprofit organization is located in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and offers free life-affirming counseling to women facing unplanned pregnancies, support services for families interested in adoption, and support for survivors of human trafficking. Pictured are Dan Smith, Exalted Ruler; Sheila White, Bethany Branch Director; Cap Pratt, PDD, trustee; and Roy Carlisle, trustee.


1795 spotlight

Members of Fort Walton Lodge presented their Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant of $2,000 to the Fort Walton Beach-area Sharing & Caring Food Bank. Pictured Feb. 1 are Tom McLaughlin, Esteemed Lecturing Knight; Mike WrightReynolds, Exalted Ruler; Joseph Accardi, Sharing and Caring representative; Jamie Clemons, Lodge Secretary; Sueann Accardi, Sharing and Caring representative; and Paul Eubanks, PER.